Financial inclusion topped the conversations at the inaugural TransUnion Philippines Big Data Summit.
The information solutions provider recently gathered industry stakeholders Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Privacy Commission, other government agencies and private businesses to align efforts and increase awareness of their impact on financial inclusion initiatives.
While financial inclusion in the Philippines still has a long way to go, with about 65 percent of the population and 552 out of 1,634 cities and municipalities still unbanked, TransUnion believes that government and industry leaders can help close the wide gap between those with access to financial services and those without.
“Financial inclusion cannot be achieved by just one organization. Clearly, it takes a village. It requires the collective efforts of both public and private sectors working together to push our economy in the right direction. Every one of us has a part in this advocacy and together, we can all make a difference with the power of big data in our hands,” said TransUnion Philippines president and chief executive Pia Arellano.
The BSP says that financial inclusion means there is effective access to a wide range of financial services by all. As of 2017, only half of Filipino adults have savings yet seven in 10 keep it at home, where it’s prone to risks instead of opportunities.
Meanwhile, four in 10 Filipino adults who have outstanding loans took them from informal sources, which can be detrimental in the long haul for clients. Furthermore, it was found that 81 percent of local SMEs are internally financed, which is a constraint to growth and to seizing more economic opportunities.
Recognizing the power of technology in bringing to scale financial inclusion efforts, the BSP and related stakeholders have enacted policies that will set its pace. Most notable among them are the rollout of the national ID system seen to make account-opening easier and the identification of alternatives to collateral, which could greatly benefit SMEs.
“Financial inclusion is strategic and is complementary to our objectives of maintaining price and financial system stability. If we can drive financial inclusion in a sound, stable manner, I think that we’ll be able to achieve that inclusive and broad-based growth that can benefit all if we coordinate and work together,” said Pia Roman Tayag, the managing director of BSP’s Inclusive Advocacy Office and concurrent head of Financial Consumer Protection Department.
As a big data company, TransUnion emphasizes how information can drive businesses, grow the economy and improve the lives of people and communities. The availability of multi-dimensional consumer credit information gives financial institutions the confidence to offer products with favorable terms on one hand, and empowers consumers to take charge of their financial futures on the other.
Yet, along with the wealth of information available comes the issue of data security and privacy. The NPC says big data and data privacy can coexist as long as the five pillars of data privacy and compliance are observed-- having data protection officers, constant privacy impact assessment, privacy management program, privacy and data protection measures, as well as breach reporting procedures. It is a concerted effort at safekeeping and protecting entrusted data to avoid any form of misuse.
Addressing businesses in the audience, NPC executive director May Arboleda-Cuevas said: “We were established to be part of the Philippine Development Plan to help enable businesses. Use data privacy as a competitive advantage to make your brands stronger. Especially in your industry where there are constant transactions, trust is very important. If they trust you with their data, then they will probably stay with you longer.”
As a champion of responsible data stewardship, TransUnion has put safeguards in place and continues to invest in products and innovations that protect data entrusted to it. While risks are ever-present, TransUnion recognizes that information is a powerful thing, along which comes the opportunity to do good and be instrumental in the Philippines’ move toward a developed economy.
“High inflation rate and lower economic projections notwithstanding, there’s still much to look forward to. Truly the future remains very bright and building that future is the work that we all have to do. Let us continue to take more steps as one collaborative community and together make deliberate choices that will propagate inclusive growth with one singular vision in mind ─that not one Filipino ever gets left behind,” Arellano said.
TransUnion is the country’s only private comprehensive credit bureau. It staunchly advocates financial literacy and responsibility. The event dubbed as “TransUnion’s Big Data Summit: Tapping the Power of Information to Drive Financial Inclusion” is the culmination of its progress in all fronts, since starting operations in the Philippines. Other stakeholders who joined TransUnion at the summit were the Credit Information Corp., FINTQnologies Corp., Collectius and BPI Family Savings Bank.
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